Weight Loss and Obesity  

What is it

Losing weight is a struggle that many people face in contemporary society with the busy lives that we lead not to mention other barriers ie. availability of unhealthy food. Being overweight and obese, as we know however, can lead to poor long-term health outcomes ie. Type 2 diabetes in addition to poor psychological health ie. low self-esteem.

What does it include

Weight management involves targeting both psychological and physical variables to improve long-term health but more importantly, overall quality of life. For psychological variables, this may include targeting maladaptive thoughts (ie. “I’m never going to succeed”), negative emotions ie. guilt, and unhelpful behaviours ie. eating while completing another activity such as watching TV. For physical variables, this may include adapting unhealthy lifestyle choices and implementing healthier choices such as increasing water consumption, implementing regular exercise, and increasing nutrition. In terms of outcomes, it is also important to focus on psychological and social outcomes ie. increased confidence, in addition to setting targeted goals for weight loss if desired. 

How can a psychologist help

A psychologist can help you understand the struggles associated with losing weight, and work collaboratively with you to set treatment goals and achieve these goals. Your psychologist may use various evidence-based therapeutic frameworks to assist you with your weight management goals, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Your psychologist can also help you to address any barriers to achieving your goals, and develop a relapse prevention plan to increase your chances of maintaining your progress. 


    Herpertz, S., Albus, C., Lichtblau, K., Köhle, K., Mann, K. and Senf, W. (2000), Relationship of weight and eating disorders in type 2 diabetic patients: A multicenter study. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 28: 68–77. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(200007)28:1<68::AID-EAT8>3.0.CO;2-R

    Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., & James H. Fowler, Ph.D. N Engl J Med 2007; 357:370-379. doi: 10.1056/NEJMsa066082

    Reidpath, D. D., Burns, C., Garrard, J., Mahoney, M., & Townsend, M. (2002). An ecological study of the relationship between social and environmental determinants of obesity. Health & place8(2), 141-145.

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